Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez is urging parents to vaccinate themselves against pertussis, or whooping cough, warning the virus could kill kids if passed on.

The star has joined the March Of Dimes to create a national public awareness campaign called “Sounds of Pertussis,” an initiative that focuses on educating new parents and their families about pertussis, a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease for infants.

The campaign centers on a series of English and Spanish PSA’s featuring Lopez, scheduled to begin airing nationally this month.

“When I learned that many babies who get pertussis catch it from their parents, and how easy it is for adults to get vaccinated, I was shocked,” said Lopez. “New and expectant parents have so many things to worry about. Getting pertussis themselves, or possibly spreading the disease to their own children, shouldn’t be one of them. I felt it was urgent to let parents know how important it is that they get vaccinated against pertussis to protect themselves and to help keep their babies safe from this dangerous disease.”

As part of the campaign, Lopez was the Honorary Chairperson of the March of Dimes March for Babies 2009 walks that took place in the weekend in more than 900 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

To view the PSA’s, visit the Sounds of Pertussis website.

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